Home Email this page Print this page Bookmark this page Decrease font size Default font size Increase font size
Noise & Health  
 Next article
 Previous article
Table of Contents

Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Citation Manager
Access Statistics
Reader Comments
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
 * Requires registration (Free)

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded73    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 8    

Recommend this journal


Year : 2014  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 69  |  Page : 116--122

Possible psychological mechanisms for "wind turbine syndrome". On the windmills of your mind

King's College London, Department of Psychological Medicine, London, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Dr. G James Rubin
Department of Psychological Medicine, King's College London, Cutcombe Road, London SE5 9RJ
United Kingdom
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: Rubin and Wessely Received Payment to Review this Literature as Part of a Legal Case Relating to the Installation of Wind Turbines., Conflict of Interest: Rubin and Wessely Received Payment to Review this Literature as Part of a Legal Case Relating to the Installation of Wind Turbines.

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.132099

Rights and Permissions

Throughout history, people have suffered from physical symptoms that they have attributed to modern technologies. Often these attributions are strongly held, but not supported by scientific evidence. Symptoms attributed to the operation of wind turbines (called "wind turbine syndrome" by some) may fit into this category. Several psychological mechanisms might account for symptoms attributed to wind turbines. First, the "nocebo effect" is a well-recognized phenomenon in which the expectation of symptoms can become self-fulfilling. Second, misattribution of pre-existing or new symptoms to a novel technology can also occur. Third worry about a modern technology increases the chances of someone attributing symptoms to it. Fourth, social factors, including media reporting and interaction with lobby groups can increase symptom reporting. For wind turbines, there is already some evidence that a nocebo effect can explain the attributed symptoms while misattribution seems likely. Although worry has not been directly studied, research has shown that people who are annoyed by the sound that turbines produce are more likely to report symptoms and that annoyance is associated with attitudes toward the visual impact of wind farms and whether a person benefits economically from a wind farm. Given that these mechanisms may be sufficient to account for the experiences reported by sufferers, policy-makers, clinicians and patients should insist on good-quality evidence before accepting a more direct causal link.


Print this article     Email this article